Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Look on His Face

Image courtesy of ImageryMajestic at freedigitalphotos.net
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account 
for every careless word they speak, 
for by your words you will be justified, 
and by your words you will be condemned.  
Matthew 12:36-37 ESV 

As parents, as friends, as humans, we will have to answer questions concerning sin and forgiveness.  Questions like:  If we are covered in the grace given to us through Jesus Christ on the cross, then what is the point of "following the law?"  Why should we even bother to avoid the "seven deadly sins?"  Why should we feel bad about doing ANYTHING that we do? 

The answer is quite simple...
One day, we WILL have to give an account for our actions, and that will be a day we never forget.  I'd like to keep my list as short as possible so that I don't have to look God in the eyes and admit to all the times I've wallowed in sin.
Once, when I was in elementary school, there was a thing called a SLAM BOOK being passed around.  For those who don't know, a SLAM BOOK was a notebook in which each page had numbered lines which corresponded to the same line on the pages that followed.  A person would put her name on the first page; whichever line was the next available, and then, on the pages that followed, she would answer the questions on that page on the same numbered line each time.  For example, I might sign my name on line number 9 and then I would put my answers on the corresponding line on each page; number 9.

The questions varied and were anything from:  "What's the worst thing you've ever done", to "What's your favorite color?".
I, unfortunately, made the poor decision to fill out a SLAM BOOK.

The book was confiscated by some teachers, but I wasn't concerned because the questions didn't trigger in my mind as very negative.   However, one of the teachers; I'll call him Mr. Z, called me aside privately to discuss the confiscated notebook.

You see, one of the questions was "Who is your least favorite teacher?".  I had put Mr. Z down for my answer.  I didn't really "think" I had done anything wrong because it was TRUE!   He wasn't my homeroom teacher and he didn't really teach any of the classes I was taking, so I didn't have much experience with him and, therefore, he was my LEAST favorite.
No big deal to me...but, BIG DEAL for him.
I remember looking into his eyes, which actually were wet with tears.  He said, "Tammie, I was very disappointed and hurt when I saw that you put my name here.  I might expect it coming from another student, but I just didn't expect it coming from you."

My heart sank into my stomach.  I had hurt him...I had disappointed him...I hadn't intended to,  but it was undeniable that I had done a very bad thing.
Now, if I can still remember the look on Mr. Z's face when I had to give an account for THAT...what will I feel like when I have to give an account for all of my sins directly to God?
What will it feel like to hear God say, "Tammie, I gave you my only son to die so you would no longer be a slave to sin...yet you went back to your sinful nature time and time and time again.  Why?  Why would you do that?  I might expect that of someone else...but I never thought it would be you."

I need to remember, on a daily...okay, hourly, basis that I WILL HAVE TO GIVE ACCOUNT to my Heavenly Father and say, "Yes, Lord, even after all you did for me, I turned and walked away...I did it MY WAY."
Maybe if I picture God looking at me the way Mr. Z did that day 30 years ago...maybe if I recall the feeling of my heart in my stomach...maybe then I will not be so quick to justify my sinful acts just so I can please myself. 

Pray:  Heavenly Father, I thank you that you have freed me from slavery to sin...you have covered me with your Son's blood...you have shown me mercy time and time again; but I still continue to sin.  Your grace is unfathomable.  Help me to remember that I have a day ahead of me where I will have to talk to you about each sin that I commit.  Help me to feel the Holy Spirit moving me toward looking more like Jesus in my actions and less like myself.  Only through you mercy and grace is holiness a possibility for me.  Amen.

~Tammie Hefty

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